2022-23 Team: London Knights – Ontario Hockey League
Date of Birth: May 20, 2005
Place of Birth: Mount Brydges, ON, CAN
Height: 5-foot-10, Weight: 170 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (North American Skaters): 51st
- Elite Prospects: *Notable Prospect
- NHL Central Scouting: 51st
- FCHockey: 118th
- Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 72nd
- Hockey Writers (Horn): 90th
- Smaht Scouting: 68th
- TSN (Button): 34th
If you’re looking for a player who could be a steal of the 2023 NHL Draft, look no further than Easton Cowan of the London Knights. Despite being undersized, he has a complete hockey toolkit that should allow him to excel at the sport for years once he breaks onto the scene.
On the ice, Cowan plays a nonstop two-way game that makes him one of the most notable players every shift. He has a visceral understanding of the sport that allows him to either find the right place to set up his teammates to score or to shut down his opponent’s opportunities. He also isn’t afraid of playing a tough game despite his size, as he will battle in the corners to dig out a puck.
Throughout the Knights’ run to the 2023 OHL Western Conference Final, Cowen flashed his playmaking abilities by posting nine goals and 21 points in 20 games played. This playoff was a bit of a coming-out party for him, as he showcased that he could produce points when his team needed it most as well as shut down opponents.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
Now, when discussing an undersized player who is going to be selected at the NHL draft, it’s easy to draw connections to current players who beat the odds and act like that should be the expectation. So, expect to hear names like Brayden Point thrown around alongside Cowan, especially if he is selected in the third round. However, that’s a great example of what type of player he can be if everything develops perfectly, even if expectations should be a bit tempered.
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Easton Cowan – NHL Draft Projection
Cowan is a difficult player to project on draft night, partly because of his size. If he were a little bit taller, I would have him down as a slam-dunk second-rounder who has the outside chance of a late first-round selection given how strong his toolkit is. However, smaller players tend to slip on draft boards, which creates an incredible value opportunity if the right team makes the selection.
Right now, I see a number of people that I trust who have Cowan ranked as a third-round pick or later, but I personally see this as a bit low. I think there will be a general manager who saw what he did during the OHL playoffs and take a risk on him in the late-second round between picks 50-60. At this range, that general manager may still believe that they uncovered the next diamond in the rough.
Cowan is a high-energy playmaker who plays with significant grit; with added polish and muscle, he projects as an intense depth creator in the NHL.Sebastian High – dobberprospects.com
Cowan is an excellent two-way forward that has elite vision, passing and hockey IQ. He has a great motor that allows him to be engaged in every play throughout his shifts. Since the Knights acquired Ryan Winterton from the Hamilton Bulldogs, Cowan has been the glue that holds that line of Cowan-Winterton-Barkey together. He is willing to dig pucks out of the corners and uses his great vision and passing to set up scoring chances.Ben Jordan – smahtscouting.com
There was a transformation in Cowan’s game through the season from a hard working, tenacious and secondary player to a player that not only drove his line, but his team. It was most evident when he led his team to a Western Conference Championship… Cowan is a terrific skater with a great separation gear that allows him to challenge defenders one-on-one. When chasing dump-ins, he regularly beats defenders to those pucks. It helps that he has a non-stop work ethic as well.Dominic Tiano – ohlwriters.me
- Strong two-way skater
- Great defensive instincts
- Non-stop motor
- Sees the ice at an elite level
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- As an undersized forward, Cowan may get overlooked
When you look at how Cowan plays hockey, you see someone that easily projects to the NHL. He has a perfect combination of skills including strong skating, playmaking ability, defensive responsibility, and drive that are needed to take those next steps into the league. While he definitely needs time to develop his body physically, this is already a solid base to build upon.
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If things go well, I could see Cowan acting as a second or third-line centerman in the NHL, who kills penalties, takes on time on the powerplay, and acts as a general energy forward to help propel his team forward. There are plenty of examples of these types of players in the league right now, so the path is there for him to follow in the coming years.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 8/10